Boris Pasternak's Nobel Prize-winning novel of love and betrayal amidst the Soviet Revolution is given a new interpretation for the small screen in this made-for-television adaptation. Yury Zhivago (Hans Matheson) is a young man who is sent to live with his aunt and uncle, Anna and Alexander Gromeko, (Celia Imrie and Bill Paterson) after his father takes his own life as a result of the machinations of his corrupt business partner, Victor Komarovsky (Sam Neill). As Zhivago grows to manhood and studies to be a physician, he falls in love with his cousin Tonya (Alexandra Maria Lara), but one day he sees a beautiful woman and immediately becomes deeply infatuated. Zhivago learns that the woman in question is Lara Guishar (Keira Knightley), whose mother is the lover of Komarovsky. Eventually, Zhivago marries Tonya, and Lara weds Pasha Antipov (Kris Marshall), a passionate Bolshevik. As World War I breaks out, Zhivago once again crosses paths with Lara, who has become a combat nurse and is searching for her missing husband. After Zhivago is severely wounded, Lara nurses him back to heath, and along the way the two fall deeply in love. However, after the end of the war, the reality of Zhivago's marriage to Tonya puts a halt to their romance, and the explosive impact of the Soviet Revolution changes the shape and character of the land they knew, especially when Lara discovers that her husband is not dead, but has become a powerful and calculating leader of the new regime. Doctor Zhivago had its American debut on the acclaimed PBS anthology series Masterpiece Theatre.
by Mark Deming synopsis